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05-15-2014, 11:36 AM   #1
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Which software should I use?

So I am new to photography and was trying to figure out which software to use for PP. Comparing each one is a bit pointless as I have no idea what kind of editing normally gets done to a picture. So my question is what kind of editing does normally get done and which program would be best for doing it? I know this is a pretty general question so I'll add some things I am and am not looking for.
1) I don't want something that's going to take a week to learn how to adjust a slider. At the same time, I don't want to just click on "fix" and that's it. I want to know what exactly I'm changing and why.
2) I dont plan on taking mass amounts of photos and editing them all at once. I just want to work on a few photos here and there. I doubt I'll even take more than a few hundred photos a month. At least not in the foreseeable future. I know that's kinda what LR5 is for so idk if I need to consider that.
3) I don't need or want to cut someone out of a picture because they blinked or didn't smile (one of the highlights of PSE 12 on adobes website)
Maybe pse12 would work for me but Adobe makes it look very gimmicky on the website. I have no need to make a photo into a crappy "drawing" it's 2014, things like that were "cool" when computers first came out.

Basically I just want something that has the ability to enhance my photos without being convoluted by gimmicky crap or overwhelming with stuff I'll never use. So any advice will be much appreciated. Thanks for reading my long post.

05-15-2014, 12:01 PM   #2
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Have a look at Chasysdraw for free it does quite a lot, Might not be what you are looking for, but worth a try
05-15-2014, 12:49 PM   #3
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It sounds like Lightroom would fit your needs. There will be a learning curve with any of these tools, but Lightroom will allow you to do most things that were once done in a traditional darkroom, and it's also a great way to catalog and organize your photo collection. What you won't be able to do is remove power lines from your picture or clone out the little annoyances you didn't see in the original shot. For that, you need something like Photoshop in addition to Lightroom.
05-15-2014, 01:33 PM   #4

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You know, FASTSTONE image viewer does a hell of a lot. Also free.

05-15-2014, 08:32 PM   #6
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What I normally do, in Lightroom 4.4: set white balance, exposure adjustments, contrast, noise reduction and lens corrections. Sometimes I level the horizon, add a graduated filter or vignetting effect, sharpen or a few other things.
In Photoshop CS5, I do dust spot removal because I never learned how to do it in LR. I use its stitching and HDR ability. Everything I do in CS5 could be done in Elements.

If you are shooting JPEGs, you want to have the camera help you out with the initial processing. The software can then work on editing, fixing, and preparing for the web or print. Lots of software can do that, even the free stuff. I would look at Picasa or Fastone. I like to use the Pentax software to set those camera parameters, so the JPEGs start out pretty good.

If you shoot RAW, you need a converter first. Picasa, Fastone and other programs can interpret the file but it isn't their strength. Elements comes with a limited version of Adobe Camera RAW. Lightroom has the full version with the prettiest interface. Photoshop's version is the same, but looks different. Other people like and use other RAW converters, separate or combined with editors. The Pentax software can do everything that you need from a RAW converter and send the file to an editor. Few people use it because the interface is not great.

Elements, Lightroom and the Pentax software would do everything I need. Lightroom has excellent organizing too. With a lot of users, help is usually available. Lightroom plods on our old low-end laptop but is fine on my older desktop with 6Gb of RAM.
05-15-2014, 09:06 PM   #7
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Two more options:
1. The software that came with your camera (e.g. Silkypix or Pentax Digital Camera Utility). Recent versions could do all you want and are not too difficult to learn.
2. DxO Optics Pro. ($US99 on sale.) Automates correction of distortion, vignetting and CA for your particular lens/camera combination (if supported - check first). Offers preset adjustments (e.g. Portrait Bright or Landscape Standard). Wonderful noise reduction. Easy horizon correction. One-photo HDR. Can do a lot of fine tuning if you want.

For panoramas, I like the free program Autostitch.

For simple lossless cropping and rotation, and for viewing, IrfanView (also free).
05-17-2014, 06:43 AM   #8
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Thanks for all the info everyone. I'll probably just get lr5 and find a few other programs for the things I can't do with LR.


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